Europe sets well-defined standards to reinforce ethical, non-discriminatory practices in science and technology.
EU funding in 2008
"Ethical issues relating to emerging technologies should be addressed on the basis of well informed debate, leading to sound choices and decisions."
The prosperity and employment prospects of all European citizens depend increasingly on science and technology to create, exploit and disseminate knowledge as a basis for continuous innovation. Yet, civil society also needs to pay due attention to other factors that have an immediate impact on the quality of life – such as equal opportunities, gender balance, social inclusion, health, respect for diversity, and the provision of adequate education. Such issues are thus firmly embedded at the core of the strategy for the European Research Area.
One of the purposes of the ‘Science in Society’ action is to ensure that European and international research are conducted within a strict ethical framework. In order to maintain conformity with the required standards, the European Commission constantly monitors proposals submitted under the Framework Programmes. By end of 2008, it had screened nearly 500 FP7 projects.
A significant action was the Commission’s February Recommendation to the Member States for adoption of a code of conduct to govern research in the field of nanosciences and nanotechnologies (N&N). This is in line with the objective of the 2005 Nanotechnologies Action Plan to promote integrated safe and responsible N&N.